Police in New Jersey said officers responding to a report of an "alligator-like creature" on the loose discovered the animal was an escaped iguana.

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The Neptune Township Police Department said officers arrived in a residential neighborhood Tuesday after receiving a call about an "alligator-like creature" wandering the area.

"Upon arrival, officers discovered that the iguana had escaped from his home and 'scaled' a nearby porch to catch some rays," police said in a Facebook post.

"Officers sprang into action, set up a perimeter and canvassed the neighborhood for anyone missing a not-so-furry friend," the post said. "The owner was located and quickly responded to the scene, bringing this tense situation to a close without incident. The escapee was safely returned home to warm up after his exhausting and chilly morning walk."

Police said the officers decided to handle the case themselves instead of summoning help from the Monmouth County SPCA because they feared the iguana, a creature native to tropical climates, could quickly be adversely affected by the chilly December weather.